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RICHMOND, Va. – Nine states have signed legislation that aims to give small business owners a say in the regulatory process and Virginia may be the next. Like the federal Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), state Senate bill 1218 would require state agencies to consider their impact on small business before they issue final regulations. RFA requires that state agencies perform an economic impact analysis before they regulate; that state agencies consider “less burdensome” alternatives that still meet regulatory goals; a judicial review so that the law “has teeth,”; and a provision for state government to periodically review all its regulations. SBA Office of Advocacy Chief Counsel Thomas Sullivan recently urged the passage of bill 1218 at a Jan. 26 Senate General Laws Committee of the Virginia State Senate hearing. Meanwhile, the Virginia Credit Union League has reviewed Sullivan’s testimony and will present it to the League’s lobbying staff for further review, said Alda Wilkinson VCUL senior vice president governmental affairs. Since 2003, Connecticut, Kentucky, Missouri, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Colorado have all signed small business regulatory flexibility legislation into law. That same year, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and West Virginia Governor Bob Wise signed Executive Orders to implement regulatory flexibility. There are more than 23.7 million small businesses in the United States accounting for between 60 and 80% of net new jobs, according to the SBA. In Virginia, 97.8% or 137,312 of the state’s employers are considered small, which is defined as having 500 employees or less. Those businesses employ more than 47.7% or 1.4 million of Virginia’s non-farm sector employees, the SBA reported. “One of the many reasons, I believe, this legislation has been so successful over the last two years is that policy makers across the country are beginning to view regulatory flexibility as an economic development tool,” Sullivan said. “In order for regulatory flexibility to work, there is a need for governors’ leadership, for trained and educated state agencies so that they will know what their responsibilities are and how to accomplish them, and for continued involvement of the small business community to comment on agency rulemakings and provide feedback on how the system is working.” [email protected]

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